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Taxpayers may pay for Sid Reams’ heart surgery

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POSTED May 13, 2009 1:46 a.m.
STOCKTON – If accused rapist Sid Reams were to get the heart valve replacement his court-appointed public defender says he needs to save his life, it’ll likely be paid for by taxpayers.

During a continuation of his pre-trial conference Tuesday in San Joaquin Superior Court, Reams, 66, was not present for the proceedings. His attorney noted that he was currently in the hospital where he was being prepared for the open-heart surgery. She informed Judge Richard Guiliani that surgery was required in order to save his life.

Her previous motion to have him released on his recognizance at the time pending his medical condition was denied by Guiliani, who agreed to be back in court on May 22 to determine whether the case was ready to proceed to the newly scheduled pre-trial conference date of May 28.

Reams – who wrote a part-time unpaid column for The Bulletin and sold advertising space for The Sun Post for a time as well as holding down a job as a Realtor while serving as a homeless advocate – is being held in San Joaquin County Jail on $250,000 bail and is facing three felony counts including rape of a dependent adult, penetration with a foreign object, and elder or dependent abuse. He is also being charged with a misdemeanor count of sexual battery.

Much like she did when she introduced Reams’ wife Karen to Guiliani who informed her about her requirement to attend the next scheduled proceedings, Deputy District Attorney Gina Della Maggiore introduced a young woman identified as “Megan Doe” that Della Maggiore later noted was the victim in the case as well as two other people who accompanied her.

Their identities, she said, are being withheld pending the nature of the case.

Tuesday marked the first time that Reams hasn’t entered the courtroom wearing standard-issue orange prison scrubs and hand and leg shackles since he first appeared before the judge following his booking back on April 16.

At his last court appearance where public defender Christina Catania made the request that Reams be released to handle his pending medical matters, the 66-year-old Realtor took slow steps as he made his way from the inmate lockup and looked uncomfortable for the roughly 15 minutes that he was in the courtroom.

When Guiliani denied Catania’s motion for release, Karen Reams burst into tears and didn’t take her eyes off of her accused husband as he ushered a handcuffed wave while being led back to the holding cell for inmates.

And while it’s not uncommon for both sides in a trial to waive the constitutional guarantee to a speedy trial in order to allow for more time to build a case, Della Maggiore – on top of pushing for a raise of his bail from $150,000 to $250,000 – has refused to waive time.

“The people were ready for this case the first time that we came in here to move forward with it, and we were ready today,” Della Maggiore said – noting that she didn’t learn until arriving at court that Reams was at San Joaquin County General Hospital and wouldn’t be attending the proceedings. “And we’re definitely going to be ready when we come back to court next week.”
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